This information comes from the research compilations of Dr. Jeanne Ohm
The effects, frequency and overt damage of birth trauma is perhaps the easiest way to understand why all children need to be checked for spinal misalignments and cranial distortions.
Routine labor procedures such as inducing labor, pain medications, and restrictive maternal positions lead to further complications and the resultant use of forceful pulling and operative devices such as forceps, vacuum extractions and c-
Standard obstetric managenent includes grasping the infants head during birth usually accompanied by some degree of pulling and rotation. Further intervention including the application of obstetric devises creates an environment where an even more serious injury is bound to happen.
Although the studies sited below mostly deal with the excessive trauma caused by obstrtriclal, operative devices it is important to note this comment by Dr. Abraham Towbin, medical researcher on spinal injury, He says, ‘the birth process, even under optimal, controlled conditions is a traumatic potentially crippling event for the fetus.’
More Studies Needed
Birth trauma remains an underpublicized and, therefore, an undertreated problem. There is a need for further documentation and especially more studies directed toward prevention. In the meantime, manual treatment of birth trauma injuries to the neuromusculoskeletal system could be beneficial to many patients not now receiving such treatment, and it is well within the means of current practice in chiropractic and manual medicine.From the abstract.
Relationship Between Trauma at Birth and Infant Digestive Disorders
Clinical, neurological and roentgenological complex investigations of 174 children with similar birth injuries revealed pathogenetic relations between birth trauma of the spine, the medulla and the functional obturations of the intestinal tract as pylorospasms, spastic-
Birth Trauma and Learning Disorders
This study correlates the positive relationship between obstetrically complicated births, cranial motion disorders and learning disabilities.
The relationship of craniosacral examination findings in grade school children with developmental problems. Upledger JE.J Am Osteopath Assoc 1978 Jun;77(10):760-
Trauma to the Head and Neck Resulting in Multiple Disorders.
Birth trauma to the cervical spine and cranium can result is disorders such as: headaches, vestibular problems, auditory troubles, visual disturbances, pharyngolaryngela disorders, vasomoter and secretion dysfunction and psychic disturbances. Care to realign the neck achieves excellent results with many of these dysfunctions.
Orthopedic Medicine a New Approach to Vertebral Manipulation by R. Maigne
Routine Positions in Labor Cause Unnecessary Birth Trauma
In vaginal births, 4.6% of term neonates suffer unexplained brain bleeds and up to 10% suffer neonatal encephalopathy. These injuries may be avoided by decreasing distortion of fetal skulls, from pelvic contracure at delivery. The popular semi-
Operative Devices: Forceps and Vacuum Extraction:
Kinematic Imbalance Due to Suboccipital Strain.
A significantly high portion of babies suffered birthing injuries due to prolonged labor and use of extraction devices resulting in Kinematic Imbalances due to Suboccipital Strain.
135 children younger than 24 months were all treated by specific “manipulation” of suboccipital joints
caused by: intrauterine malalignment, assisted births (extraction side), prolonged labor, multiple fetuses, and higher trauma.
Kinematic Imbalance Due to Suboccipital Strain in Newborns. Biedermann H; Manuelle Medizin 1992; 6:151-
Forceps Combined with Rotation Causes Serious Complications
High cervical spinal cord injury in neonates resulted as a serious complication of forceps rotations of 90 degrees or more. The common feature in all cases was a forceps cephalic delivery, almost always a rotation of 90 degrees or more from the occipitoposterior or occipitotransverse position. High cervical spinal cord injury in neonates is a specific complication of forceps rotation.
Forceps Causing Multiple Traumas and Even Death
The neonatal mortality rate attributable to use of the forceps was 34.9 per 1000. The incidences of delayed onset of respiration (17.4%), birth trauma (15.1%), and abnormal neurological behaviour-
Babies on whom Kielland’s forceps were used, however, had a significantly greater incidence of abnormal neurological behaviour even in the absence of fetal asphyxia (14.3%), and in all of these babies the abnormal behaviour was transient and did not necessitate admission to the special-
The results suggest the neonatal complications are caused by the forceps and not related to the process of birth itself.
Forceps Related to Facial Paralysis
This study published in “Plastic Reconstructive Surgery” retrospectively identifies and characterizes patients with facial palsy related to birth trauma and describes the natural history of this disorder. This retrospective study revealed that 91% of all children who had suffesed with facial paralysis were delivered with forceps. The incidence of additional birth injuries also was substantially higher among affected subjects than among the general population of newborns
Fetal Skull Fractures from Vacuum Extraction Devices
The vacuum extractor is being increasingly advocated as the instrument of first choice for assisted vaginal delivery. It is widely believed that the vacuum cup will dislodge before causing serious fetal trauma. The vacuum extractor exerts considerable traction force. Fetal skull fracture can result, and its true incidence may be higher than expected, considering that few neonates with normal neurologic behavior undergo skull x-
In only 134 vacuum extraction-
Vacuum Extraction Increases Neurological Deficits in Children.
A case of growing skull fracture following birth trauma and caused by vacuum extraction is reported in order to emphasize the incidence of this peculiar head injury at the beginning of extrauterine life and to point out its relation to possible neuropsychological disturbances that may appear later in childhood. Delivery by vacuum extraction increases the incidence of perinatal injuries and consequently the incidence of neurological deficits in children. Neurosurgical repair is advocated as the appropriate treatment, with the aim not only of cosmetically correcting the lesion’s typical subgaleal protuberance with cranioplasty, but also of performing a water-
Spinal Cord Injury During Birth
Recognized causative factors are traction on the infant’s trunk during breech delivery, rotational stresses applied to the spinal axis, traction on the cord via the brachial plexus in shoulder dystocia, and hyperextension of the fetal head in breech delivery or transverse presentation. Recognition of these factors is the basis for prevention of this terrible accident.
Byers RK; Spinal-
Birth Trauma Has Lasting Psycological Effects
Although alomst addressing trauma to the nervous system when looking at birth trauma, there is growing evidence that the traumas of birth have lasting psycological effects.
“Although controversy can still be generated, especially among persons who are not acquainted with contemporary findings, we should not proceed arrogantly with the routine traumatization of our infants at birth! Fortunately, an increasing number of therapists are being privately trained to recognize and work to resolve prenatal/perinatal trauma, but there could never be enough of them to do the work that is piling up. It would take an army of therapists to keep up with endless production line of trauma at birth! Their work could be-
Birth Trauma: A Modern Epidemic
“Birth today has become a technological experience where a naturalprocess has been replaced with artificial procedures and schedules. Without the necessary support during pregnancy, women enter the birth process with fear and are led to rely on drugs instead of their bodies’ own natural strengths. These drugs weaken her body’s ability to function and lead to even further interventions.The more interventions used in birth, the greater the risk of injury to both the mother and baby. ”
Kiminski HM, Stafl.A & Aiman J. The effect of epidural anesthesia on the frequency of instrumental obstetric delivery.Obstet Gynecol 1987; 69 (5): 770-
Benedetti T. “Birth Injury and Method of Delivery” Editorial NEJM 1999 Vol 341, No. 23
Sakala C. Content of care by independent midwives assistance with pain in labor & birth.Soc Sci Med 1998; 26 (11): 1141-
“One expert medical researcher on spinal cord and brain stem injury tells us, ‘the birth process, even under optimal, controlled conditions is a traumatic potentially crippling event for the fetus.’ ”
Towbin A. Latent spinal cord and brain stem injuries in newborn infants. Develop Med Child Neurol. 1969; 11, 54-
” ‘Spinal cord and brain stem injuries often occur during the process of birth but frequently escape diagnosis. Respiratory depression in the neonate is a cardinal sign of much injury. In infants, there may be lasting neurological defects reflecting the primary injury. ‘ ”
Towbin A. Latent spinal cord and brain stem injuries in newborn infants. Develop Med Child Neurol. 1969; 11, 54-
“Routine procedures such as inducing labor, pain medications 9 and restricted maternal positions are known to cause greater difficulty in labor and lead to further interventions.”
Satin AJ. & Hankins, GD. Induction of labor in postdate fetuses. Clin Obste Gynecol 1989; 32 (2): 269-
Arulkumaran S et al. Obstetric outcome of patients with a previous episode of spurious labor. Am J Obstet Gynecol1987; 157 (1): 17-
Chestnut DH et al. The influence of continuous epidural bupivacaine analgesia on the second stage of labor andmethod of delivery in nulliparous women. Anesthesiology 1987; 66: 774-
Gardosi J, Huston N & B-
“Medical research on birth trauma tells us , ‘Forceful pulling on the baby’s neck particularly when combined with stretching of the spine-
Towbin A. “Brain Damage in the Newborn and its Neurological Sequels” 1998 Chapter 1: 138.
Adams C, et al. “Spinal cord birth injury: value of computed tomographic myelography,” 1998 Depts of pediatric neurology and radiology: University of Toronto
Rossitch E, Oakes J. Perinatal spinal cord injury: clinical, radiographic and pathological features. Pediatr Neurosurg1992; 18: 149-
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed startling data. It reports: difficult labor itself and the method of delivery may lead to brain injuries and deaths in babies.
Brain injuries were found in:
one out of every 664 infants delivered with forceps;
one out of every 860 deliveries by vacuum extraction and one out of every 907 infants delivered by c-
Towner D et al.. Effect of Mode of Delivery in Nulliparous Women on Neonatal Intracranial Injury. NEJM. 1999; Vol. 341, No. 23
Another published medical study reports: “mechanical stress imposed by obstetric manipulation-
It further states ,” Survival of the newborn is governed mainly by the integrity and function of the vital centers in the brain stem. Yet paradoxically, the importance of injury at birth to the brain stem and spinal cord are matters which have generally escaped lasting attention.”
Towbin A. Latent spinal cord and brain stem injury in newborn infants. Develp Med Child Neorol 1969; 11:54-
Birth trauma causes spinal injury. The effect is lifelong impairment
Gottlieb MS. Neglected spinal cord, brain stem and musculoskeletal injuries stemming from birth trauma. J Manipulative Physiol ther 1993 Oct; 16(8): 537-
(The above excerpts are taken from the video script, “Birth Trauma: A Modern Epidemic” by Dr. Jeanne Ohm)
by Peter Fysh
…Chiropractors should also play an important role in evaluation of the newborn infant. It is just possible that an early chiropractic evaluation, performed during the first month of life, may have a significant effect on a child’s ability to develop to its full potential –